Netflix Vivo's Has A Cool Connection To In The Heights For Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Vivo
(Image credit: (Sony Animation/Netflix))

It’s been just a couple months since the movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway hit In The Heights hit theaters and streaming, and now the playwright and lyricist has another movie on his hands. The Sony Pictures Animation film Vivo premiered on Netflix over the weekend, and it has soared to the top of the streaming service’s charts because, well, it’s Lin-Manuel Miranda!

The movie has Lin-Manuel Miranda voicing a honey bear who lives in Cuba with an older man, who regularly sings and dances for the townspeople. The first song to introduce these characters is called “One of a Kind,” and according to Miranda, it has been a long time coming. While sharing a deep dive into the making of his original music on Twitter, he shared that he started writing the song back in 2009 along with this:

Vivo's first two lines were originally: ‘Tough crowd, nothing I haven't seen before, I'll have to pull out the stops & give them even more’ – which are now in the reprise. I was also playing Usnavi 8 shows a week at the time, so this is semi-autobiographical.

It sounds like Vivo has been in the works for over a decade, finding roots in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s days starring as Usnavi for In The Heights on Broadway. Back in 2010, Miranda reportedly pitched the movie to DreamWorks Animation and it was under development until the studio dropped the project due to studio restructuring in 2015. Ever since then, its home has been Sony Pictures Animation, and now it has arrived to homes everywhere on Netflix.

While sharing some fun behind-the-scene bits on Vivo, Lin-Manuel Miranda admitted that a couple of the honey bear’s lines were drawn from the place he was in life at the time where he was constantly on stage performing In The Heights. It was going to start the movie itself, but he ended up switching it around to a song called “Tough Crowd” later on in the adorable and music-filled movie.

Vivo may have gone under the radar in comparison to other Lin-Manuel Miranda projects, but it’s still gaining traction among audiences. The movie was originally going to hit theaters last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic switched things around, which has happened with a lot of animated films this past year. Vivo debuted against positive feedback, including CinemaBlend’s 3.5 out of 5 review.

It’s especially interesting to see how In The Heights and Vivo influenced one another as they both come together for audiences in the same summer. Next up for Lin-Manuel Miranda is the Disney animated film Encanto, for which he wrote the original music. Encanto is set to come out on November 22. Check out what else is next for Miranda here on CinemaBlend.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.